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New to Me Nasturtiums

July 31st, 2017

In Ohio I tried growing nasturtiums many times, they never did well at all. Everyone always said they were so “easy” and did well in poor soil, yet I could never get them to do anything at all in my garden. I finally gave up trying to grow them and moved on to other annuals. When we moved to Maine and I was growing in a different area, growing them never crossed my mind until this spring. A pack of ‘Night & Day’ nasturtiums were ordered from Johnny’s, started in soil blocks, and planted throughout the garden.

I was not prepared for the exuberance of these plants. Here by the front door they’re taking over their pots, growing up the side of the house, and being fantastic. I planted one between each tomato plant in the main garden, they are growing up way too big. Last week I cut them back hoping they would regrow but be a little less crazy. I’m undecided on whether I like these plants and will grow them again next year. This pale yellow is nice, especially by the front door. I’m not a big fan of bright, brash colors in the garden, which nasturtiums tend to be. I guess I’ll watch these the rest of the summer and see what I think in another month or so.

What annual that everyone says is “easy” have you struggled to grow?

Friday Favorite: Southwest Airlines

February 17th, 2017

I’ve spent my life flying here there and yonder, when you live in a different country from you family this is the way life is. Throughout the years we’ve had good and bad experiences with airlines. Five or so years ago I discovered Southwest and will pretty fly with them if I have the option. With this big winter storm they were fantastic. We had flights purchased to head back to Ohio, it so happened both legs of our journey were on days with big winter storms. They alerted us the night before encouraging us to change our tickets (for free). Which we did. Then another storm threatened our next trip, they told us to wait and we could cancel up till 10 minutes before our flight and keep the ticket amount for a future trip or reschedule again if needed.

I’ve had lots of bad experiences on flights, amazingly, none of them have been with Southwest. I’m sure they have problems and eventually I’ll have a delayed or cancelled flight with them. I’ll still keep using them because their customer service is top notch!

Do you have any favorite companies to recommend?

Saving Time in Spring

November 23rd, 2016

In the fall, I always mulch my flowerbeds and garden areas heavily with compost (weed free) and/or chopped leaves and grass clippings. My first goal is to protect the soil throughout the winter. It insulates the soil/plants and helps them survive the winter better. The mulch also protects the soil and nutrients in the soil from being washed away. My favorite reason to mulch heavily in the fall – weed free gardens in the spring/summer!
mulching-the-garden-in-fall-1
mulching-the-garden-in-fall-2
In my perennial garden beds I use chopped leaves and grass clippings. In my edible garden areas I add a weed free compost I buy from Kinney Compost. I not only protects my soil in the edible garden areas, but it feeds the soil as well. In the areas I’ve added this compost for three years the health of the soil is noticeably better than in areas where I haven’t added it. My soil is extremely free draining, this layer of compost mulch helps my soil retain moisture in the summer and it adds valuable humus in order to make my soil have better structure.

What’s your favorite kind of mulch?

MMMM, Good

July 20th, 2016

I buy artichokes at the store every once and again. Since they are so pricey, they’re a rarity in our diet. This year I decided to try growing them. I’d read about people doing it in Vermont, and Eliot Coleman grows them on his farm here in Maine. So I started them back in February so I could give them the long season and the jolt of cold weather they enjoy.
seeding artichokes 1
As you can see, there were two different varieties in the pack of seeds I planted. Both of them are producing chokes at roughly the same time. I noticed the first choke about two weeks ago. Artichokes are wonderful in the garden, not only because they are delicious, but because they are stunning plants.
artichokes 2
artichokes 1
We harvested two and had them for dinner on Monday night, one of each variety. We dipped them in a mix of homemade mayo and a bit of balsamic vinegar and they were delicious. I’ll definitely be growing these in the future, I’m thinking they will be lovely in the ornamental beds, I love the robust texture of the leaves.

Did you grow any new vegetables this year?

Slowly, But Surely

March 31st, 2016

All those seeds I purchased last fall and stratified for months in the fridge are finally starting to germinate. I have three tiny osage orange seedlings and one Dutchman’s Pipe that has germinated so far.
osage orange seedlings 1
osage orange seedlings 2
I’m still waiting on three more varieties to germinate, hopefully they will soon. Some of the varieties I started can take up to 3 months to germinate. One thing I love about gardening is this exact thing, someday, when these osage orange trees are big, I’ll remember the tiny seed emerging from feta cheese container that I kept in the fridge over the winter. It’s so fun to try germinating different types of seeds to see what happens.

Have you started any interesting trees/vines from seed in the past?

Seeds and Sundries
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Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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